Summary: Defending the Faith - Jude verses 3-4 – sermon by Gordon Curley (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request – email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
#1: WHAT ARE WE CONTENDING FOR?
We contend for the faith....
by remembering the apostles teaching (vs 17).
by praying in the Holy Spirit (vs 20).
by keeping yourself in God’s love (vs 21).
by waiting for Jesus Christ (v.21).
#2: WHO DO WE CONTEND AGAINST?
Apostates who are…
• It was Winston Churchill who spoke those immortal words:
• "We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds,
• We shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills..."
• One wit heard that quote and said,
• "It sounds exactly like our family get together at Christmas."
• As Christians we are to wrestle, to battle, to contend for the faith!
• Jude is not talking about physically fighting an opponent.
• This is not Christian Jihadi, or a misnamed Christian crusade!
• But rather a symbolic, a theological fight;
• We are to wrestle, to battle, to fight intently for the faith!
In verse 3 Jude uses those words; "contend earnestly":
• Two words in English but only one word in the Greek text.
• He chose a word that no-one else uses anywhere else in the New Testament.
• It was a word used in the Grecian athletic games.
• If you have ever watched the Olympics you will know exactly what he has in mind.
• The word used means; ‘to struggle, to give it maximum effort’;
• In fact, we get our English word 'Agony' from it.
• But here Jude is not talking about the Olympic games;
• Or even physically fighting or wrestling an opponent.
• He uses the word symbolically; we are to wrestle, to battle, to contend for the faith!
Our hymnology encourages us to do just that! To contend for the faith:
• “Onward! Christian Soldiers!”
• “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus”
• “Sound The Battle Cry”
• “There’s a fight to be fought and a race to be run”
• “Soldiers of Christ Arise”
• The hymns refer not to physical but rather spiritual warfare;
• We will have to at times wrestle, battle and contend for the faith.
• As we look at this letter of Jude;
• Verses 3-4 give us a summary of what to expect later in this letter.
“ Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.”
• Marlon Brando plays a washed-up boxer in the classic 1954 film; ‘On the Waterfront’
• Has that great line, “I coulda been a contenda.”
• TRANSITION: He could have contended, fought and won and been great,
• But instead he is wash-up and finished, a has-been.
• The word for contend is like the word compete.
• It means to expend an enormous amount of energy on something.
• It’s a fighting word.
Jude wrote this letter;
• To defend the faith that some people were denying.
• To preserve the faith that some people were perverting.
• And to contend for the faith that some people were corrupting.
Question: Do you think of yourself as a theologian?
Answer: It might surprise you to know that you are!
• The word ‘theologian’ has two main meanings;
• ‘A person who engages or is an expert in theology’.
• Every time you open your Bible or listen to someone teach it here at Church;
• You are engaging in theology.
• Theology simply means, ‘what is taught and believed about God’
• And there are only two kinds of theologians…
• The good ones and bad ones.
• Jude wants you to be able to tell them apart!
• YouTube, TBN, God TV etc. Christian books and DVD’s
• We have never had so much information.
• And we have never had such bad theology and teaching!
• And the problem is this;
• Not all of it is bad, but the good stuff is mixed in with the bad stuff,
• And you, and I, have to engage brain and discern the difference.
Jude is writing this letter, because he wants us all;
• Christians in the congregation, as well as leaders, to be good theologians.
• To care about the purity and quality of the biblical teaching in this church.
• Because what we believe very much matters to Jude and therefore to God.
• We have all seen those signs that warn you against danger.
• e.g. Sign: “Danger high voltage”
• e.g. Sign: “Beware of dog”
• e.g. Road signs: “Slow down, no entry, dangerous bend ahead”